Sarah Kanouse is an interdisciplinary artist and critical writer examining the politics of landscape and public space. Her research-based creative projects trace the production of landscape through ecological, historical, and legal forces, with particular interest given to the environmental and cultural effects of military activities. Her award-winning, feature-length film, Around Crab Orchard, addressed how the politics of conservation and environmental justice are imbricated with military and penal economies deeply in an American wildlife refuge. She is currently completing an essayistic documentary short on the Pawnee National Grassland, a unique site where recreation, ranching, fracking, wind farming, and nuclear deterrence uneasily coexist. An inveterate collaborator, she is one half of the National Toxic Land/Labor Conservation Service, a ‘wishful’ government agency addressing the cultural and ecological impacts of nuclear militarism, and a core member of Compass, an art collaborative currently staging a series of performative hearings into the intergenerational and inter-species impacts of industrial agriculture on regional and global systems. With Nicholas Brown, she published the photo-text book Re-Collecting Black Hawkaddressing land- scapes of settler commemoration in the Midwest.
Over the last few years, Sarah’s work has been screened or exhibited at Documenta 13, the Banff Centre, the Museum of Contemporary Art-Chicago, the Cooper Union, the Smart Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, UnionDocs, and in numerous festivals and spaces at such institutions as CUNY Graduate Center, George Mason University, University of California Berkeley, and the University of Wisconsin. She has spoken on internationally on environmental and socially-engaged art at universities such as Princeton University, York University (Toronto), and ETH – Zurich. Her essays on performative and site-based contemporary art practices have appeared in parallax, The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, Leonardo, Acme, Art Journal, and in the edited volume Critical Landscapes(University of California Press) and Mapping Environmental Issues in the City(Springer).
Sarah Kanouse is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Art + Design at Northeastern University, where she directs the MFA program in Interdisciplinary Arts and coordinates the Studio Arts MFA program offered in collaboration with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. She has also held faculty positions in the University of Iowa’s Intermedia program and in the Department of Cinema and Photography at Southern Illinois University. She earned her MFA degree in Studio Art from the University of Illinois, and a BA in Art, magna cum laude, from Yale University.
2014 and 2016 Participant